The Prosecutor v. Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Nur and others

Relevant Sections

- Section 14 - Individual Criminal Responsibility

- Section 16 - Responsibility of commanders and other superiors

- Section 5.1(g) - Crime against Humanity - Rape

- Section 5.1(a) - Crime Against Humanity - Murder


Charges/ Focus Topics

  1. Section 14 – Individual Criminal Responsibility

A person who commits a crime within the jurisdiction of the panels shall be individually responsible and liable for punishment in accordance with the present regulation

  1. Section 16 - Responsibility of commanders and other superiors

If any of the acts referred to in the said Sections 4 to 7 was committed by a subordinate does not relieve his superior of criminal responsibility if he knew or had reason to know that the subordinate was about to commit such acts or had done so and the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such acts or to punish the perpetrators thereof.

  1. Section 5.1(g) – Crime against Humanity – Rape

According to Section 5.1(g) of UN Regulation 2000/15, Rape includes Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity.

  1. Section 5.1(a) - Crime Against Humanity – Murder

For the purposes of the 2000/15 Regulation, “crimes against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack and directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack and it includes murder.


Facts and Summary of the Case

The widespread or systematic attacks were directed against the civilian population in East Timor in 1999. The attacks occurred during two interconnected periods of intensified violence. The first period was from 27th January 1999 to 4th September 1999 between the Government of Indonesia and the people of East Timor where people were given the chance to vote for independence from Indonesia or for autonomy under the Republic of Indonesia. This period ended on 4 September 1999 and 78.5 percent voted against the autonomy proposal. The second period followed the announcement of the result of the popular consultation on 4 September through 25 October 1999.

The reign of violence included Incitement, threats to life, intimidation, unlawful confinement, assaults, forced displacements, arsons, murders, rapes, torture and other forms of violence which were carried out by the members of pro-autonomy militia, members of Indonesian Armed Forces and members of Indonesian Police Forces who supported autonomy within Indonesia.


During the armed conflicts, several militia groups were inaugurated who worked along with the Police Force and the TNI with the goal to achieve the objective of ensuring civilians are acquiescent. The inauguration of the Darah Intergrasi militia took place at the football field in Ermera district in April 1999. Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Nur was the district commander who organized the militia groups in the district and motivating people to work hand in hand with the TNI And carried out a violent campaign against the civilian population of the district Who supported the independence movement.

Lukas Martins who was the commander of Darah Intergrasi addressed the crowd and told him that autonomy must be accepted and threatened anyone who did not. He issued a command to the militia group stating the same.


Ana Xavier De Conceicao Lemos, a teacher who was employed by UNAMET to assist with the referendum, was an active and well-known supporter of the independence movement and was known for her work as the Vice Secretary for Women’s Organization.

She was home when the militia came into her and attacked and assaulted her. After the attack, she left her home and travelled to UNAMET. However, she was arrested there and brought to the headquarters of Darah Merah in Ermera where she was beaten continuously and raped by Sergeant Melky.


When she learnt that her parents’ house was burnt down and requested to be taken to see them, they instead took her to another house where Sergeant Hilario introduced her as his second wife to avoid suspicion despite the prominent bruises on Lemo’s face and body. During the time at the house, she was beaten continuously and raped.

Lemos was kept in custody and they made sure she did not escape and was heavily guarded. Lemos was stabbed twice and then shot by Jeca Pereira who had planned the attack to ensure she would not survive as she belonged to CNRT, who was responsible for his brother’s death. Ana Xavier De Conceicao Lemos’ body was then dumped into a nearby ravine.


The Court took cognizance of the matter and held Muhammed Nur individually criminally liable according to Article 14, and as a superior pursuant to Article 16 of the UNTAET 2000/15 and Sergeant Melky and Sergeant Hilario individually criminally liable according to Article 14 of UNTAET 2000/15 for the murder and rape of Ana Xavier De Conceicao Lemos.


Observation

Throughout the case we see an activist in Ana Xavier. She was a teacher who worked for Women’s Organization And was an active member of the independence movement. When she was captured, she was captured for her work towards the independence movement and also to execute her as a bigger revenge plan.

We have to consider the wider angle when we look at this case. People involved in the independence movement were targeted and killed throughout. We see the narrative played differently when it comes to women, where they were tortured, raped and then killed.

Ana Xavier De Conceicao Lemos was continuously beaten and raped by two different sergeants throughout her detention. This was part of a bigger message where women were raped during an armed conflict to send out the message and to terrorize the civilians.

When Ana Xavier De Conceicao Lemos was brought into an apartment and introduced as one of the sergeant's wife, the owner of the house did not question even after seeing the prominent bruises on her face and body. This shows the power play between the militia and the military and the dominance that they had over the civilians where no one could question their authority.